|US Troops Heroism in Kenya Attack
A small team of US troops demonstrating “incredible heroism and courage” were responsible for fighting off militants who stormed a base in Kenya early this month in a raid that killed three Americans, top US Africa Command general said.
An investigation is underway into events surrounding the Jan. 5 attack at Manda Bay Airfield in coastal Kenya, but an initial assessment credited quick action by US forces for repelling al-Shabab fighters who swarmed the base, AFRICOM’s Maj. Gen. William Gayler said.
“We had a very small US force following the initial attack absolutely repel the al-Shabab attackers away from the airfield. And they did that under fire,” said Gayler, AFRICOM’s director of operations. “A very small group of US and Kenyans cleared every single building out at the airfield.”
Why Didn’t the European Governments Build Arcs?
Mark Townsend and Paul Harris writing at TheGuardian.com, Feb. 21, 2004:
A secret report, suppressed by US defense chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a ‘Siberian’ climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world. . .
Climate change ‘should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern’, say the authors, Peter Schwartz, CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of the California-based Global Business Network.
Already, according to Randall and Schwartz, the planet is carrying a higher population than it can sustain. By 2020 ‘catastrophic’ shortages of water and energy supply will become increasingly harder to overcome, plunging the planet into war. . . .
Randall told The Observer that the potential ramifications of rapid climate change would create global chaos. ‘This is depressing stuff,’ he said. ‘It is a national security threat that is unique because there is no enemy to point your guns at and we have no control over the threat.’
Randall added that it was already possibly too late to prevent a disaster happening. ‘We don’t know exactly where we are in the process. It could start tomorrow, and we would not know for another five years,” he said.
Europe and Oil
Despite its cool Green parties and ambitious wind and solar agendas, Europe remains by far the world’s largest importer of oil and natural gas.
Oil output in the North Sea and off the coast of Norway is declining, and the European Union is quietly looking for fossil fuel energy anywhere it can find it.
Europe itself is naturally rich in fossil fuels. It likely has more reserves of shale gas than the United States, currently the world’s largest producer of both oil and natural gas. Yet in most European countries, horizontal drilling and fracking to extract gas and oil are either illegal or face so many court challenges and popular protests that they are neither culturally nor economically feasible.
The result is that Europe is almost entirely dependent on Russian, Middle Eastern and African sources of energy.
The American-Iranian standoff in the Middle East, coupled with radical drop-offs in Iranian and Venezuelan oil production, has terrified Europe — and for understandable reasons.
Remember, this month’s film review; I assign a film to watch each month—and give you a link to it; you’re invited to email in your comments—and we’ll review it on the last show of the month. Share the link with your friends or tell them that they can find the link on the Blog section of FrontlinesOfFreedom.com.
The movie for this month is: Punte’s Wheel. You can watch it for free at: HERE
Please send me your thoughts about the movie: Denny@FrontlinesofFreedom.com
Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world.
Taking Out Gen Soleimani
Just for the record: Gen Soleimani, a terrorist leader, placed himself on an active battlefield voluntarily to continue conducting Terrorist Operations in follow up to the Killing of a US Civilian and wounding 4 US Soldiers, as well as the planned Iranian attack on our Embassy (an attack on an embassy is an act of war), and hence became a very legitimate target under International Law. A Drone was the safest and most effective way to kill him. And as it was a perfect strike, hard to fault!
And even the Washington Post felt compelled to tell the truth for once about the US kills and maims this Terrorist had.
American Troops were Injured
Despite early reports that no Americans were harmed, 11 US service members did sustain injuries in a ballistic missile attack this month that required transport for follow-up care, officials with US Central Command have confirmed.
On Jan. 8, Iran struck Iraqi bases at Al Asad and Erbil, where US and Iraqi troops trained together. The attack was in retaliation for a US airstrike days before that killed Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani. While US officials have not yet released a full accounting of damage sustained on the bases, it was described by President Trump the following day as “minimal.”
“I’m pleased to inform you: The American people should be extremely grateful and happy no Americans were harmed in last night’s attack by the Iranian regime,” Trump said in a Jan. 9 address to the nation. “We suffered no casualties, all of our soldiers are safe, and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases.”
However, DefenseOne later reported that 11 troops were actually hurt in the blast, requiring medical evacuation to locations in Germany and Kuwait.
Soleimani’s Legacy—Good Riddance
Brian Castner combed over the armored vehicle, mostly intact aside from entry and exit holes rimmed with molten copper that had since cooled.
The US soldiers who had been inside were medevaced near Kirkuk that summer in 2006, leaving the Air Force bomb technician alone with the vehicle. Pools of blood simmered under the Iraqi sun, near what one soldier left behind.
“There was still one foot left in the Humvee,” Castner said.
The targeted US killing early Friday of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, has heightened tensions between Iran and the US.
But it also refocused attention on Soleimani’s legacy in Iraq, where sophisticated weapons and tactics he oversaw menaced U.S. troops for years, leaving a trail of dead and wounded service members.
The vehicle that Castner inspected was eviscerated by an explosively formed penetrator (EFP), a weapon of Iranian engineering that was salted across battlefields wherever Iranian-backed Shiite militias and fighters gathered, such as Kirkuk and Baghdad’s Sadr City.
The weapons, compact but potent, are deployed against armored vehicles in a way similar to traditional IEDs but are much deadlier and more effective, Castner said. But they are also more complex and difficult to produce.
Shaped like a coffee can but a little smaller, with a slightly concave end, the device is packed with plastic explosives that turn a copper plate into molten slugs that barrel through several inches of armor, sending elongated shards tumbling through bodies and vehicles, and producing entry and exit holes similar to gunshots.
What is the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps?
Iran’s powerful military commander Qasem Soleimani was allegedly planning imminent attacks targeting Americans when a US drone strike killed him Friday morning in Baghdad, according to US officials, the Trump administration has released no details about Soleimani’s alleged attack plans but has cited the major general’s recent trips across the Middle East, from Syria to Lebanon to Iraq, as evidence.
Such travel, however, has been a mainstay of Soleimani’s work for decades as the leader of Iran’s Quds Force, a special squad focused on overseas operations, among other intelligence missions, as part of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC.
When the 1979 Iranian revolution brought Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to power and the Islamic Republic was established, Khomeini and his supporters had a problem: They weren’t sure they could trust the military, which just a short time beforehand had been aligned with the deposed shah. So they consolidated supporters and set up a parallel military force, called the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, made up of skilled fighters that they knew were committed to guarding Iran’s new Islamic political system and the ideals of the revolution.
This two-tired system is reflected throughout the bifurcated Iranian state: There’s the elected president, who oversees parliament and various ministries, but then there’s the supreme leader, who’s the nation’s highest political and religious authority and controls his own key political and financial institutions. The IRGC reports directly to the supreme leader, now Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Next Man (and Woman) on the Moon
NASA’s first class of astronaut candidates under the Artemis program are set to graduate at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to land the first woman and the next man on the moon by 2024. Among them is LTC Frank Rubio, USMA Class of 1998, as well as 10 other NASA candidates and two Canadian Space Agency candidates.
After completing more than two years of basic training, Rubio will become eligible for spaceflight assignments to the International Space Station (ISS), Artemis missions to the Moon, and future missions to Mars.
The NASA candidates, including Rubio, were chosen from a record-setting pool of more than 18,000 applicants. Rubio has accumulated more than 1,100 hours as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot, including 600 hours of combat and imminent danger time. He was serving as a surgeon for the 3rd Battalion of the Army’s 10th Special Forces Group at Fort Carson, Colorado, before coming to NASA.
New Post/Base Security Measures
The Defense Department announced that training would resume for international military students — once some additional policies and security measures were put in place.
“Going forward we will put several new policies and security procedures in place to protect our people, programs, and installations. These include new restrictions on international military students for possession and use of firearms, and control measures for limiting their access to military installations and US government facilities,” Garry Reid, director for defense intelligence, told reporters.
“We will also impose new standards for training and education on detecting and reporting insider threats and establish new vetting procedures that include capabilities for continuous monitoring of international military students while enrolled in US-based training programs.”
The new policies are a result of a review of vetting procedures for foreign students, which was started after the shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola the shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in December — when a Saudi student studying in the US killed four people, including himself — and the following expulsion of 21 other Saudi students over jihadi content and child pornography.
Restrictions will not be tailored to the students’ home countries.
UN to Restart Sanctions on Iran?
European countries recently triggered a dispute mechanism in their nuclear deal with Iran, a move that could lead to the return of United Nations sanctions on Tehran.
Britain, France and Germany said they had been “left with no choice” but to make the move.
Iran announced Jan. 5, after the U.S. killing of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, that it would no longer be bound by limitations on its nuclear energy program.
Tehran had been gradually reducing its commitments under the deal since the United States withdrew and reimposed sanctions in 2018. With Washington threatening secondary sanctions against European businesses dealing with Iran, Tehran argued that it could no longer reap the financial benefits laid out in the pact in exchange for curbing its nuclear program.
By initiating the dispute mechanism, the Western European signatories begin a process that could eventually result in a “snapback” of U.N. sanctions, though officials made clear that such an outcome is not their current intention.
Instead, they appear to hope that triggering the process could help bring Iran back in line with its commitments under the 2015 agreement, which Tehran negotiated with the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.
Great American Patriot Award
Staff Sergeant David Bellavia, the first and only living Medal of Honor recipient from the Iraq War, was the recipient of the 2019 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl Great American Patriot Award. Presented annually by Armed Forces Insurance, the Great American Patriot Award honors a candidate in recognition of their exemplary service to the US.
Bellavia was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Second Battle of Fallujah for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.” His actions occurred on November 10, 2004 – his 29th birthday – when his platoon was assigned as part of Operation Phantom Fury to clear a block of 12 buildings from which insurgents were firing on American forces. His actions were first documented in the November 22, 2004, Time Magazine cover story “Into the Hot Zone” by journalist Michael Ware, who was attached with Bellavia’s unit during the fight. Originally awarded with the Silver Star, Bellavia’s commendation was upgraded to the Medal of Honor this summer.
Putin’s Plan to Hold Power Forever
In his state of the nation address, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed a sweeping constitutional reform that would give him several options to retain power after 2024, when his term ends.
The announcement led to the resignation of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s government, showing that a full reset of Russia’s governance system is underway – and that Medvedev won’t succeed Putin as president, as he did for one term in 2008.
Having spent the first hour of the 80-minute speech on demographics and the economy, Putin suddenly turned to the constitution. Most of his proposals would leave Russia, whose current constitution now enshrines near-dictatorial presidential powers, with a less powerful presidency – and a more limited choice of potential presidents.
First, Putin suggested that only people who have resided in Russia continuously for more than 25 years and who have never possessed a foreign passport or permanent residence permit should be allowed to run for president. The current version of the constitution says a second citizenship in no way limits a Russian’s rights.
Weird Questions at Job Interviews
Think about it. We research companies, tailor resumes and write cover letters with the sole goal of getting that interview.
Once you are scheduled for an interview, there are a myriad ways to prepare for it. Do a deep dive on the position and know the company’s place in the industry. Think of questions for when the interviewer asks whether you have any (as they likely will). Practice being succinct with answers to the most common interview questions.
If the interview is with a civilian-oriented company or with someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience with veterans, you may encounter more unconventional questions. While you can’t prepare for some of these, at least be prepared to ask for clarification if you get one.
Here are some of the strangest questions vets have heard in interviews, as submitted by Military.com readers.
“If you were a color, what color would you be and why?”
This is actually a more common question than one might think. The interviewer is trying to get a feel for your personality. A veteran in a job interview might be tempted to dismiss it, answer any color that comes to mind, and move on.
It’s important to think of a meaningful reply, even if you think the question is bizarre. Whether it’s purple because your mom used to grow lilacs or blue because you were once a pilot, think of a memory, find a color associated with it, and explain that memory. The interviewer just wants insight into how you think.
Hate Directed at Families of Deployed Military
As if having a loved one deployed overseas isn’t enough, family members of soldiers deployed with the 82nd Airborne Division are being warned of “menacing” messages they might receive on social media, and are being encouraged to report any they see.
According to a Military Times report, threatening messages are being sent to family members of troops with the division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, which deployed to the Middle East earlier this month in response to increased tensions with Iran.
One message obtained by Military Times calls for troops to leave the region if “you want to see your family again.”
“Go back to your country. You and your terrorist clown president brought nothing but terrorism,” the message, sent over Instagram from an account using the photo of now-deceased Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, said. “You fools underestimate the power of Iran. The recent attack on your [expletive] bases was just a little taste of our power. By killing our general, you dug your own grave. Before having more dead bodies, just leave the region for good and never look back.”
Other messages families have reported “included fake scenarios about kidnapping,” while others “look more like phishing attempts.”
First Female Wing Commander
When Amy Holbeck graduated from Tennessee Technological University in 1997, she was incredibly shy and had no intentions to be an officer in the military.
Col. Holbeck, who lives in Macon, will take control of the Georgia Air National Guard’s 116th Air Control Wing as the first female wing commander in the more than 70 year history of the Georgia Air National Guard.
There will be a In a change-of-command ceremony Sunday at the Museum of Aviation.
“I’m looking forward to serving the men and women of the 116th Air Control Wing and partnering with the men and women of the 461st Air Control Wing, as well as Army JSTARS, all of our local mission partners and community partners to continue to provide excellent command and control intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to all the combatant commanders just as we have for the last two decades,” Holbeck said.
The 116th Air Control Wing is the Georgia Air National Guard’s portion of Team Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, the Air Force’s first total force initiative wing formed in 2002 that also includes the Air Combat Command’s 461st Air Control Wing and the active duty Army Intelligence and Security Command’s 138th Military Intelligence Company.
The Border Wall
The Department of Homeland Security has asked the Pentagon to fund the construction of 270 miles of border wall this year as part of a counter-drug effort, defense officials said Thursday.
The officials said the request came in, and the Pentagon is beginning what will be a two-week assessment to determine what will be approved. The officials, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity, would not provide any cost estimates.
The request comes amid sharp divisions about the border wall between President Trump and members of Congress who have opposed the use of military funding for the construction.
The border wall is one of Trump’s signature issues — he’s been talking about building a “big beautiful wall” between the US and Mexico since his early campaign days.
Instead, money has been diverted from military construction projects and drug interdiction funding, setting up a persistent source of conflict between Democratic lawmakers and Trump in the budget bills each year.
Defense officials said the request is for construction or replacement of border barriers, lighting and roads in six sectors across several states. The six areas, the officials said, are high traffic areas that include some urban sections near border crossings.
Iraqis Capture (Fat) ISIS Leader
An Iraqi SWAT team this week captured a hefty high-ranking Islamic State official who was pictured crammed into the bed of a police pickup truck after his arrest in Mosul.
The arrest of ISIS mufti Abu Abdul Bari, also known as Shifa al-Nima, was announced by the Iraqi government’s security media cell in a statement Thursday.
Bari, a preacher known for “provocative speeches against the security forces” is considered one of the top leaders of “ISIS gangs,” the statement said.
Considered by ISIS to be an authority in Quranic law, Bari issued religious rulings, or fatwas, ordering the execution of scholars and clerics who refused to pledge allegiance to the terrorist group when it occupied Mosul, the statement said. He also ordered the July 2014 destruction of a mosque built at the site believed to be the burial place of the biblical prophet Jonah, who once had a notable encounter with a whale.
God Loves Us
Scott McChrystal is a retired Army Colonel, Chaplain. Here are some of his insights that I think you’ll find appropriate.
PICK THE RIGHT FIGHT
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Tim 6:12 (NIV)
Life offers ample opportunities to fight. Just look around you. Some folks are obsessed with attacking other people because of their political views. Other people choose to fight on our roads, highways, and even in parking lots. They’re not hard to spot, honking their horns, swerving in and out of traffic, yelling obscenities at other drivers- and the list goes on.
Ironically, the most important battle of all is one that many ignore – the fight of faith. In this verse the Apostle Paul exhorts Timothy to fight the fight of faith. Why? Because it’s the struggle for eternal life.
But this fight is not one any of us can fight and win on our own. It’s the Lord’s battle. 2000 years ago, God sent His Son to win eternal life for us. Jesus came and paid the price for our sins at the Cross. We win, if we place our faith in Him.
Have you made the decision to fight the good fight of faith? You can do this by confessing your sins and asking Jesus Christ into your life.
Pick the right fight. Fight the good fight of faith.
Retired Navy CAPT Joe John has done many things in his life; I’ve asked him to share a few words of wisdom with us:
Americans have become aware that the nation is engaged in a “life-and-death” struggle to ensure the US Constitutional Republic survives!
Civil War History
Here are some questions on the Civil War; we’ll post the answers in the next newsletter.
Here are the answers to the last issue’s questions:
1. In what major battle were two Confederate generals killed who were buried in the same cemetery? Chancellorsville
2. Who were they? LTG Thomas J. Jackson and BG Elisha Frank Paxton
3. In what cemetery are they buried? Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington, VA.
Here are the new questions:
1. Most of the senior general officers of both the Union and CSA had experience in Mexico during the Mexican War. One very successful senior USA general, who commanded the Western Theater under LTG Grant and went on after the war to hold senior positions, did not serve in Mexico. Who was he?
2. Who is the only Union commander credited with defeating two of these three CSA commanders (Lee, Jackson, Longstreet)?
3. Who did he defeat and in what battles?
Soldier Boy, by the Shirelles (1962)
Frontlines of Freedom Gear
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Two quotes to consider.
What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight—it’s the size of the fight in the dog.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
No guts, no glory.
Major Gen. Frederick C. Blesse
Programming: You’ll want to tune into the show (live or by podcast).
25-31 Jan: Dean Reuter will discuss the 75th anniversary of the freeing of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp at the end of WWII. Then Marine vet Alan Hoover will discuss why he decided to run for congress and whaat it takes to do so. And we’ll review the Movie of the Month.
1-7 Feb: Col Allen West will discuss the impact of this election year and how we can deal with candidates. Then Craig Gray will discuss hand-to-hand combat. Then we’ll review the book, Tomcat Fury, with author Mike Guardia.
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If you’ve ever worked for a boss who reacts before getting the facts and
Arcelor-Mittal Steel, feeling it was time for a shakeup, hired a new CEO.
The new boss was determined to rid the company of all slackers.
On a tour of the facilities, the CEO noticed a guy leaning against a wall.
The room was full of workers and he wanted to let them know that he meant business.
He asked the guy, “How much money do you make a week?”
A little surprised, the young man looked at him and said, “I make $400 a week. Why?”
The CEO said, “Wait right here.”
He walked back to his office, came back in two minutes, and handed the guy
$1,600 in cash and said, “Here’s four weeks’ pay. Now GET OUT and don’t come back.”
Feeling pretty good about himself the CEO looked around the room and asked,
“Does anyone want to tell me what that goof-ball did here?”
From across the room a voice said, “Pizza delivery guy from Domino’s.”
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Lt. Col. Denny Gillem (Ret.)